The Dr. Robert K. Jabs School of Business at California Baptist University became a Microsoft Certification Site in fall 2021. As a result, the school began to incorporate the Microsoft Certification exam into entry-level course CIS270. By the end of the class, business students can become Microsoft Certification Specialists and receive certificates and digital badges issued by Microsoft displaying their certification.
Since the class now ends with the certification exam, the School of Business adjusted the course curriculum to enhance Microsoft skills. Dr. Tim Gramling, dean of the Robert K. Jabs School of Business, said that the school partnered with companies Servcorp and GMetrix, which provide certification and course training, respectively. GMetrix allows students to do assignments on modules that simulate Microsoft products. Gramling said the level of engagement within GMetrix tools allows students to learn Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint more thoroughly.
“Before, for example, when we were working in Microsoft PowerPoint, a student would produce a PowerPoint file, and I would look at it and determine if it looked right, but I could not necessarily tell that the student got to that look correctly,” Gramling said. “What GMetrix does is it actually simulates PowerPoint. It gives students a task to do and it watches what you do. If you do the task incorrectly or if you don’t hit the button the proper way, it will flag it. It will teach you and coach you. It brings students through and shows them how to do it properly, not just that they get to the right result at the end.”
Gramling said that gaining a Microsoft Certification opens many doors for students as they move into the business industry. Receiving the industry certification can lead to job and internship opportunities and can boost resumes.
“It is one thing to tell people ‘I have Excel skill’ or to put it on a resume, but it is another thing to have the digital badge from Microsoft,” Gramling said. “You can’t fake it. When you talk to an employer and you show them you have the Microsoft Excel badge, that is a very different conversation than just saying on your resume ‘I know Excel because I took a course.’”
Dr. Marina Girju, associate professor of marketing and associate dean of undergraduate programs at Jabs School of Business, said that in today’s business industry, it is especially important to develop strong skills in Microsoft Excel.
“In the vast majority of business careers and careers in general nowadays, employees need to have good analytics skills,” Girju said. “Employees need to be able to take data and analyze it, so developing these analytical skills is very important, so we made it a cornerstone of the curriculum we have in the School of Business.”
Not only will the Microsoft Certification program help students, but it can also boost the business program at CBU.
“It is an opportunity for CBU to show that our curriculum is at a high standard and our graduates actually pass the industry certification exam and get these industry badges,” Girju said. “The students now are all consistently taught and prepared at the level of having these Excel-certified skills. Every single class they take in their degree after this technology class has also improved because the students have these skills.”
Sophia Walski, sophomore finance major, took CIS270 and received Microsoft Excel Certification through the course.
“The business world goes around Microsoft and all their products, and Excel especially,” Walski said. “It can help with finding a job because in the interview you can say you are certified in Excel. Having that certification gives you a leg up on other potential people interviewing for the same spot.”
The School of Business is also providing Microsoft Excel Bootcamps in March. These bootcamps will be available to the entire CBU community for those interested in taking the Excel Certification Exam. The school plans to offer these bootcamps periodically in the future, and eventually bootcamps might become available to the public beyond CBU campus.
The three-day bootcamps, which cost $120, are available either on March 16, 23 and 30 or on March 19, 26 and April 2.